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Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board

California Court of Appeals, Third District

July 22, 2015

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, Petitioner,
v.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPEALS BOARD and SVETLANA THOMPSON, Respondents.

ORIGINAL PROCEEDING; petition for writ of review from an order granting reconsideration and decision after reconsideration of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board No. ADJ7807167.

Page 1132

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Lisa A. Liebson, Mary R. Huckabaa and Cynthia J. Woekle for Petitioner.

No appearance for Respondent Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

Adams, Ferrone, Ferrone and John A. Ferrone for Respondent Svetlana Thompson.

OPINION

BUTZ, J.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) issued an opinion after the grant of a motion for reconsideration of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Department). The WCAB opinion upheld the finding of its hearing officer that there was an industrial cause for the death of Gregory Thompson (decedent), and the award of a workers’ compensation death benefit to Svetlana Thompson (widow). The Department sought a writ of review challenging the failure of the WCAB to address its claim that the hearing officer failed to adjudicate the widow’s petition to determine her entitlement to special death benefits under the public employees’ retirement system (PERS). (Gov. Code, §§ 21537, 21541.)[1] We issued the writ, and after plenary review will annul the WCAB’s decision.[2] (Lab. Code, §§ 5950, 5952.)

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FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Department does not contest the finding that the death of Gregory Thompson was causally related to the industrial injury. As a result, we do not need to provide more than a brief sketch of the underlying substantive facts.

In February 2011, the 51-year-old decedent was working at High Desert State Prison in Susanville as a guard. An inmate stabbed him eight times in the neck, shoulder, and arm. This resulted in a stipulated award of a 44 percent permanent disability to his neck and psyche. As a result of his injuries, he accepted a medical demotion to an entry-level computer analyst position in December 2012 in the information technology department of the prison’s medical unit, forfeiting his peace officer status. He had a troubled relationship with ...


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